I stand with the teachers across the city who are advocating for common-sense regulation.

By Sylvia Cabrera Resource Teacher Alliance College-Ready Middle Academy #5

No legislation currently exists in California to regulate the fiscal and educational impact of charter school expansion on existing charter and district schools. Consequently, we see an oversaturation of new schools opening in certain areas, and existing schools suffer underenrollment as a result. Last year, my school, Alliance Middle School #5, laid off four educators due to declining student enrollment. Over the past several years, our enrollment has decreased by approximately 100 students.

The impact of declining student enrollment means fewer staff and potential program cuts. At my school, we no longer have the funding for an art teacher. We are no longer able to offer any honors classes. We simply cannot continue to have unregulated growth of new charter schools at the expense of our current schools and students. It is not sustainable for existing district schools or charter schools alike.

 

‪East LA moms are fed up with the charter company invasion at their school. Here they shut down the board meeting of #Exteracharter company that is encroaching on their public school. Charters use co-location and harm our kids by taking away needed resources. #ResistProp39‬ #Kipp #pucschools #exterapublicschools #HandsOffOurSchools

Posted by UTLA on Wednesday, March 20, 2019

 

This lack of oversight is especially irresponsible in the parts of L.A. that are facing gentrification. My school is located in Lincoln Heights, and someof our students’ families are struggling with the harsh realities of housing costs rising substantially. It seems like everyweek we get an email notifying us of another student unenrolling because their family is being displaced, havingto move inland to San Bernardino, Victorville, and even out of state. Between more charter schools being authorized and the impact of gentrification, we are finding it more and more difficult to meet our enrollment capacity with each passing year as the student population in the community declines.

As educators, we cannot be dismissive of these critical matters. Whenschool programs get cut or our schoolsclose, it affects students, parents, andour whole community. It was just this school year that a PUC charter school in Eagle Rock closed on the fourth day of school without notice to anyone because of underenrollment.

Charter School Oversight

Unchecked expansion of the charter industry drains millions of dollars away from neighborhood schools and creates equity and transparency problems. LAUSD must protect neighborhood schools by regulating charter industry growth and charter school co-locations onto neighborhood schools. California is now the state with the most charter schools and charter school students in the nation. It has been estimated that Los Angeles Unified School District loses 600 million dollars annually as a result of the loss of enrollment to charter schools. This year alone 70 new charter schools opened in California, enrolling an additional 30,000 students. The California Charter Schools Association has set a goal of enrolling one million students in charter schools by 2022. Opening unneeded schools is fiscally irresponsible and will only exacerbate the financial problems of public school districts. #UTLAStrong #WeAreLA

Posted by UTLA on Friday, March 8, 2019

I became a teacher so I can advocate for my students and community, and I stand with the teachers across the city who are advocating for common-sense regulation to address these concerns. Educators across Alliance are coming together to collectively advocate for the best schools for our students and our profession. Through our union, we as educators can affect positive changes to make our schools sustainable and improve our students’ learning conditions at our schools and throughout our community.